From Genes to Numbers: Effective Population Sizes in Human Evolution

  • John Hawks


The effective population size has become a central aspect of our understanding of the ancient structure of human populations. It is through this concept that the genetic variation of present-day humans may inform us about the number and relationships of humans in the past. However, effective population size itself is not a demographic parameter. If the theoretical model does not apply accurately to human evolution, then inferences based on the estimates of effective population size may be in error. Here, I present the theoretical basis of effective population size, including many of the demographic and evolutionary conditions that can confound the relationship of genetic variation and population size.


Population Size Family Size Effective Population Size Gene Frequency Effective Size 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Hawks
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WisconsinUSA

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